The Piano Lesson (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Piano Lesson (1995)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Alfre Woodard and Charles S. Dutton star as sister and brother in this made-for-television Hallmark Hall of Fame production about an African-American family's struggle to retain their heritage. The drama tells the story of an impoverished black family whose history is told in the carvings on the family piano. Boy Willie (Dutton) wants to sell the piano and use the money to buy farmland, but sister Berniece (Woodard) won't part with it. The film chronicles their struggle to come to terms with their family's past, and its future. The critically acclaimed film was based on August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play and was nominated for numerous Emmy awards.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: August Wilson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 11, 2000
Republic Pictures Home Video


Alfre Woodard
as Berneice
Lou Myers
as Wining Boy
Zelda Harris
as Maretha
Lynne Innerst
as Miss Ophelia
Harold Surratt
as Papa Willie Boy
Elva Branson
as Mama Berniece
Ben Tatar
as Watermelon Man
Alice Eisner
as Watermelon Lady
Bob Tracey
as Nolander
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Piano Lesson

Critic Reviews for The Piano Lesson

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1)

Full Review… | February 23, 2012
Top Critic

There is an element of magical realism to this story, not unlike Toni Morrison's Beloved, and that comes across well.

Full Review… | June 19, 2003
Apollo Guide

Passionate screen adaptation of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play about two siblings forced to clarify their values about tradition, money and desire.

Full Review… | August 30, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

August 1, 2005

June 8, 2004

Audience Reviews for The Piano Lesson


It was weird... but still a pretty solid movie. I enjoyed when they sang. It was poetic.

Dannielle Albert

Super Reviewer


Where the 2000s have been dealing with Tyler Perry's terrible "black cinema", this made for television film is a superbly acted and well made drama about life as an African American in the 1930s. Even though it isn't perfect this film works as a period piece and as a current piece.

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